Will open access level the playing field?

In a dramatic about-face, Verizon Wireless closed out 2007 with the announcement that in the year ahead, it will open its network and enable subscribers to use handsets, software and applications not otherwise offered by the operator. In the next few weeks, Verizon Wireless will publish the technical standards needed to connect to its network--all applications, operating systems and runtime environments are supported, so long as the devices and services connect properly to its CDMA platform. No less important, Verizon will keep certification fees reasonably affordable, in effect guaranteeing smaller device and application developers a realistic shot at mainstream attention. The challenge now facing the developer community: Creating and marketing applications that capture the imagination of a subscriber population increasingly willing to pony up the cash for the devices and services that enable a next-level wireless user experience.